15 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound
Forty-five MPH Couch Potatoes
Before my husband and I made the decision to adopt a greyhound, our perception of the breed was the same as other people who have never had the pleasure of taking one into their home: they are "too big", "too fast", and "probably mean".
I'm so delighted to say that we were terribly, terribly wrong.
Some greyhounds like to sleep in a position lovingly called "cockroaching". This is when greyhounds lie on their backs with their legs in the air, giving them the appearance of a dead cockroach. It's silly and adorable to witness, and the greyhound will give you a big, upside-down grin.
#14: Needle Noses
Greyhound noses are long, slim, and look similar to deer noses. Instead of going to feed deer at a game ranch, you can feed your greyhound by hand and get the same experience! A greyhound's nose not only looks adorable, but it's used as a tool to nudge and nuzzle.
#13: Soulful Eyes
Greyhound eyes are lined with black, as if they're wearing doggy eyeliner. Not only are these eyes huge and warm, they can see up to a mile away! Also, greyhounds have a 270 degree range of vision, meaning they can see behind themselves.
#12: Crazy Ears
Greyhound ears are like water: ever-moving and unpredictable. While running, greyhounds pin their ears to their head to make themselves more aerodynamic. When greyhounds are interested, their ears are large and open, pointing upward. When relaxed, greyhound ears point any way and every way possible.
Greyhounds are normally seen wearing muzzles, leading people to believe that they're mean and dangerous. The truth is greyhounds wear muzzles during races so it's easier to see which dog won during a close race, and because 45 miles per hour is a dangerous speed for hanging-open mouths. Greyhounds are generally very kind, and don't like conflict (which is why they'd make poor guard dogs).
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#10: Beautiful Colors
Greyhounds come in many different colors, including fawn, brindle, red, and black. Sometimes, their fur is a combination of different patterns, giving each greyhound a unique look. Greyhound fur is a work of art!
#9: Built Like Skyscrapers
Greyhounds are lanky, slim, and tall.
Their noodle-like limbs may appear silly at first, but it's a blessing once you realize that you don't actually have to bend over to pet them. If you're surrounded by pets who take advantage of having you do all the bending, it might be time for a refreshing change. Adopting a greyhound as a companion will give your back a rest!
#8: Couch Potatoes
Greyhounds are called couch potatoes for a reason: they're very low-energy dogs. However, because people usually only see greyhounds at the track pounding the dirt with their paws, they're thought to need constant activity. In reality, these gentle giants love to nap, cuddle, and laze about the house. Walking your greyhound several times a day is all he or she needs; no marathons required.
Quick Greyhound Facts:
- 270 degree field of vision
- Can reach speeds of up to 45 mph
- Sometimes let out "screams of death"
- Muscular greyhounds find it uncomfortable to sit, so they just lay down instead
- Muzzles are for close races at the finish line and to protect the dogs from excitement, not because they're ill-tempered
- Greyhounds love cozy spaces so they don't need a huge house
- They're sprinters, not endurance runners
- Generally have less odor than other breeds
- Their skeletons can't handle excess fat, so "fattening" them up is a terrible idea
- Highly addictive to adopt
#7: Giraffe Necks
Greyhound necks are long, strong, and ready for you to scratch and cuddle. It's a proven fact that wrapping your arms around a greyhound's neck makes all the day's stress melt away.
#6: Pleasant to Touch
Greyhounds have very low-maintenance fur. Since their fur is short, it only takes brushing or wiping with a damp towel to groom them properly. You'll never have to worry about trimming hair from their eyes, or untangling their tail fur.
Greyhounds are the second-fastest land mammal at top speed! Not only does this make playing fetch (in a very secure, closed-off field) tons of fun, but it's awesome to see their bodies turn from lazy couch potato to a sleek, efficient machine in three strides.
#4: Gets You Active
Greyhounds love to be outside, especially if they've had a long racing career and have only been locked in a crate during their down time. Hiking, jogging, rollerblading and anything having to do with nature are just ten times more fun with a greyhound by your side. You may eventually become just as sleek as your greyhound and have fun doing it!
Greyhounds are social animals. They love to be in the area where their humans are and, since they're sight hounds, they always like to keep their family members in their sight at all times. If you're feeling a bit lonely, your greyhound will literally always be there to check up on you and give you tons of attention. It's not uncommon for greyhound owners to go to the bathroom only to have their nosy dogs burst in on them during important business.
If you're clutching at your skin because you're freezing, your greyhound could probably use a sweater, too. These sweet giants don't have undercoats. If you're a fan of crocheting, or just dressing up your pet, you'll like having a greyhound. Not only do they wear sweaters and turtlenecks, they also wear snoods to keep their ears and long necks warm!
#1: Adopting Changes You For the Better
Greyhounds, especially retired racers, need love, patience, firmness, confidence and kindness. Because their lives are a bit different than other breeds, they are innocent children at heart. While introducing your hound into your world, you may find yourself growing more patient and understanding because of your new pet. Things that you take for granted will be presented to you at a different angle, such as climbing stairs, having fresh water to drink, and taking walks outdoors. Things that gave you stress before may be banished to the far reaches of your mind as that space is filled with your greyhound's love.
Retired racers usually go through a "shock" phase at first, where they're confused about the changes that are happening in their life. However, when your grey warms up to you, it's the most rewarding feeling in the world.
You may think that you're the only one doing the teaching, only to discover that you're learning and growing along with your new friend for life!
Tips for First-Time Retired Racing Greyhound Owners:
Adopting a retired racer is no walk in the park, but the rewards are well worth it. Here are a few things to remember:
- Retired racers usually have never seen stairs in their entire lives. While every hound is different, having a partner to help you out will facilitate the process.
- Nervous greyhounds tend to pant heavily, have drippy noses, and/or seem to "shut down". Don't take this personally. It can take anywhere from a couple weeks to half a year to adjust to a new family, way of life, and household.
- Don't approach your greyhound quickly while he or she is sleeping. Racing greyhounds are used to sleeping solo, and rarely get touched during rest.
- Use a firm but calm tone when reprimanding. Set your boundaries early. Greyhounds like to have a strong, gentle leader to follow.
- Don't hug your hound around the neck, go face-to-face, or crowd the back and rump too closely until you're absolutely sure that he or she has fully acclimated.
- Greyhounds are sight hounds, and they get very attached to their family, meaning separation anxiety is quite normal. When you're leaving the house, crate your hound so that he or she doesn't chew on blinds or window sills.
- Do NOT free-feed your hound. Restrict water after dark or else you'll be waking up in the middle of the night for business breaks.
- Greyhounds tend to eat fast now and chew later. Use a slow feeder to make sure that your hound doesn't eat too fast (especially since this breed is prone to bloat, or twisted stomach, a life-threatening condition that is second only to cancer in dog deaths).
- Another way to prevent bloat is to never feed your hound anything that can expand in the stomach. Only feed all-natural food made of ingredients that are easy on the stomach and don't promote bloating.
- It has been hard-coded in this breed to chase little animals that move fast. Don't be angry at your dog for wanting to chase a cat or a squirrel.
- Always keep a leash on your hound outdoors. You won't catch your greyhound if he or she decides to run after a chipmunk.
- Retired racers are pretty unfamiliar with vehicles whizzing past them. Take extra care and keep a short leash while walking next to a busy street.
- If your greyhound isn't responding after multiple times calling his or her name, try quick hand motions. Since they're sight hounds, greyhounds sometimes tune out repetitive sounds.
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